Youth Sports: A New Perspective
It was 10 years ago when I got started with YMCA youth sports. At that time, I was a senior in college and began an internship at the Sage YMCA in Crystal Lake, IL. Little did I know that I would still be involved in YMCA youth sports 10 years later. Following my internship and graduation, the YMCA pulled me back into its grasp. First as a sports department/membership department employee and then as a Youth Sports Director at the Buehler YMCA in the Chicago-land area. After moving to Nebraska - chasing after a girl (my now wife) - I was fortunate enough to accept the Youth Sports Director position at the Maple Street YMCA. I spent almost five years in that position. A little over a year ago, I was given the opportunity to move to a new department. Although I am no longer a Youth Sports Director, I am still involved in youth sports.
Now I get to experience YMCA Youth Sports from a different perspective, coaching. My daughter recently completed her first season of soccer at the YMCA in the spring and I decided to coach her soccer team. Although I never played soccer growing up, I knew from all my years involved in YMCA youth sports that specific soccer knowledge was not the most important aspect of coaching. I knew that despite my limited soccer knowledge, I could communicate with the parents on the team, create a snack schedule, and most importantly I could run around with the kids and try to make their experience fun. I had such a fun time coaching my daughter’s team in the spring that I will once again be on the soccer field on Saturdays this fall!
If you are unsure about coaching in our YMCA sports program, I want you to know that it is an experience you will enjoy. Seeing the progress kids can make from the first week to the last week is one of the greatest highlights you get to experience as a coach. Seeing the smiling faces and getting high fives from kids after they score their first goal or do something you have been practicing all season makes it all worth it. You do not need to be the most knowledgeable person about a particular sport to be able to coach a YMCA team. You just need to have a positive attitude and a focus to make the experience as fun as possible. If you have ever thought about volunteering to coach a YMCA sports team, I urge you to jump in! Registration for our fall basketball season is now open so if you are wanting to coach, the opportunity is now!
I also want to take this chance to express a HUGE THANK YOU! To all our Youth Sports Directors. The amount of time and energy these individuals put in to provide a positive experience for thousands of kids throughout the area is truly amazing. See you on the soccer field this fall!
George T.; Butler-Gast YMCA & Maple Street YMCA Senior Membership Director